Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science and Engineering


  1. CGSE researchers announced as finalists in WA Premier’s Science Awards

    CGSE researchers Professor Mark Cassidy and Dr Scott Draper from The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) have been announced as finalists in the Western Australian Premier’s Science Awards. The awards were established in 2002 to honour the outstanding achievements of WA’s science and innovation community.

    Professor Mark Cassidy, Deputy Director of the CGSE and Director of COFS , is a distinguished civil engineer whose research has underpinned the safe and economic construction of oil and gas platforms in our oceans. His advice has been incorporated into the design of platform and pipeline infrastructure currently being constructed off the coast of Western Australia.  As an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, Professor Cassidy’s research seeks solutions to unlock the vast reserves of stranded gas in our remote and deep oceans, where the geotechnical response of the seabed sediment is poorly understood. Mark is a finalist for WA Scientist of the Year.

    Dr Scott Draper’s research focuses on modelling the interaction of wind, current and waves with offshore structures. This ranges from estimating the stability of subsea structures to optimising the configuration of arrays of offshore wind and tidal turbines. He has first authored a new industry design guideline that may revolutionise the design of subsea oil and gas pipelines. Dr Draper’s work has also provided the first accurate assessment of marine renewable energy resources in the United Kingdom. Scott is a finalist for the Woodside Early Career Scientist of the Year.

    The CGSE would like to congratulate Professor Cassidy and Dr Draper on this significant achievement.  The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Perth on 20 August 2015.

  2. CGSE PhD student, Jingbin Zheng, awarded ISOPE scholarship

    2015-05-15 Jingbin photo at DSME_smallCGSE PhD student, Mr Jingbin Zheng, has been awarded a 2015-2016 ISOPE scholarship for Outstanding Students. The scholarship is in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and the potential to become a leader in the offshore mechanics and polar engineering field.

    Jingbin co-authored the paper Installation of Spudcan Foundations in Layered Soils: Centrifuge Test and Numerical Analysis, with CGSE researchers Shazzad Hossain, Stefanus Safinus, Youngho Kim and Jonghwa Won, Jong-Sik Park and Min Jung Jun from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in Korea. The paper is being presented at ISOPE 2015.

    Jingbin’s PhD topic is on the numerical modelling of spudcan and cone penetration in multilayer soils. Using numerical analyses of spudcan and cone penetration tests, Jingbin is producing practical predictive methods for assessing spudcan penetration resistance in multilayer soils. These include a mechanism-based two-step approach and a CPT-based direct approach. The former predicts spudcan penetration resistance using shear strength parameters derived from laboratory tests, while the latter will provide a direct correlation between spudcan penetration performance and field penetrometer data to provide a first-order estimation for the risk of punch-through failure and thus reducing the time scale and costs of current engineering calculations.

    The CGSE would like to congratulate Jingbin on his ISOPE scholarship award.

  3. Scott Sloan elected FRS

    Scott Sloan

    Laureate Professor Scott Sloan

    The Centre is delighted to announce that Laureate Professor Scott Sloan has been elected to a Fellowship of The Royal Society. This scientific academy is the oldest in continuous existence and has included past luminaries such as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

    Scott is a pioneer of new methods that enable engineers to predict the collapse states of geostructures such as tunnels, dams, highways and foundations. These methods have delivered a new tool for engineers to design cheaper and safer civil infrastructure across the globe. He also pioneered the use of high-order elements for accurate predictions with the standard finite element method, as used in PLAXIS, as well as widely-used algorithms for implementing practical soil models, generating meshes, and solving large sets of finite element equations.

    Scott studied for his BEng (Civil, Hons I) and MEngSci Degrees at Monash University, before winning a scholarship from Trinity College to undertake a PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1978. He later won a Rouse Ball Scholarship at Trinity College, which he held for one year. After 3 years as a W W Spooner Fellow at New College Oxford, he returned to Australia in 1984 to take up a lectureship in Civil Engineering at the University of Newcastle. Scott was appointed Director of the 70-strong University of Newcastle Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical and Materials Modelling in 2007 and made a Laureate Professor in 2008. He is also the founding Director of the CGSE which commenced operation in 2011.

    Scott has published over 340 refereed papers and delivered over 40 plenary, keynote and invited papers at conferences. He accumulates in excess of 600 Scopus citations per year, and was elected to Fellowships of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2000 and the Australian Academy of Science in 2007.

    Three other Australians are amongst the 47 new fellows and 10 new Foreign Members announced by the Royal Society in 2015: a linguist and psychologist, an animal geneticist, and an earth scientist.

    Scott’s election means that the CGSE now has the rare distinction of having two Fellows of the Royal Society as Chief Investigators, with Mark Randolph from the UWA being the other.

    The President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse said science and its application are at the core of so many aspects of our modern lives. “From treating infectious diseases, to building safe bridges and tunnels, searching out life on other planets and even vacuuming our living rooms, science helps us understand ourselves better and it makes our lives better.”

  4. RIGSS JIP now underway

    A Joint Industry Project (JIP) led by the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS), the University of Western Australia (UWA) node of the Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE), has kicked off with 5 industry participants – Benthic Geotech, Fugro, Shell, Total and Woodside.  The JIP, entitled Remote Intelligent Geotechnical Seabed Surveys (RIGSS) will deliver new sensors, tools and engineering design methods that will enable more intelligent and efficient geotechnical seabed surveys.

    The aim of the JIP is to advance geotechnical site investigation technology through improved control and instrumentation, new types of sensors – penetrometers and other tools - and new engineering design methods that apply the SI data more directly to geotechnical design.  The remote and intelligent sensors will be deployed from a seabed frame or ROV-based platform, or be deployable into box core samples on deck.

    These arrangements will allow SIs to be more effective, gathering better geotechnical data and making more efficient use of survey time.  The new sensors, including novel penetrometers invented at COFS, will provide more detailed measurements of soil response, through seabed interactions that are more directly relevant to engineering design.  For example, a compact instrumented pipe-like penetrometer such as the COFS-developed toroidal device is more suited to the determination of pipe-soil friction factors than the traditional cone penetrometer.

    COFS has worked closely with industry for the past 15 years,  during which time, Professor Mark Randolph has pioneered the development of new seabed penetrometers including the T-bar and piezoball devices, which are now widely used offshore.  This new phase of research, supported by both Operators and Survey Contractors, includes other new penetrometer devices, such as the larger hemiball and toroid devices.  These tools are particularly suited to near-surface characterisation for pipelines and shallow foundations.

    The RIGSS JIP has 6 Work Packages, targeting different technologies that have been chosen for their potential to impact on survey practice and engineering design.  These packages cover (i) control, actuation and acquisition, (ii) surface and deep penetrometers, (iii) free fall penetrometers, (iv) in situ erosion and scour measurements and also (v) blue sky sensors.

    The JIP has a particular, but not exclusive, focus on shallow seabed site investigation over extensive areas, such as for pipelines and subsea infrastructure, where low-cost, remotely operated site investigation tools and smart testing techniques offer potential improvements relative to current practice.

    The deliverables include recommended practices for planning, executing and interpreting tests using the new sensors, and new methodologies to perform engineering design based on the gathered data.  Also, COFS will deliver blueprints of the optimised designs of the new sensors, allowing Contractors to fabricate their own devices, to suit their proprietary equipment.

    The COFS researchers are building prototype versions of the new tools that will be proven in the field during the JIP, and will also deliver interpretation routines to allow rapid deployment in offshore practice.

    The research will be underpinned by experimental and numerical modelling at COFS, including centrifuge model testing, as well as field-scale trials at Australia’s national soft clay test site, located at Ballina in NSW.

    For more information please see

    Media enquiries: 

    Professor David White, Shell EMI Professor of Offshore Engineering (Project Manager)

    Dr Sam Stanier, Research Fellow (Lead Researcher)


  5. UWA node recruiting 2 Postdoctoral Research Associates/Research Fellows

    The Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) is the largest research group in the world focusing on offshore geotechnical engineering. The group has 30 academics, 25 administrative and technical staff, 44 PhD students and hosts world-class experimental facilities, including 2 geotechnical centrifuges. COFS is one of the three nodes of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE).

    Applications are invited for two positions within Professor Mark Cassidy’s Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellowship “New Frontiers in Offshore Geotechnics: Securing Australia’s Energy Future” which aims to advance Australia’s geotechnical testing capabilities and pioneer scientific approaches to predict the risk of offshore foundation, anchor, pipe and platform failures.

    Position 1 (FLPDRA Offshore Foundations) will develop research capabilities in the areas of field and/or centrifuge testing of anchors and/or risers.

    Position 2 (FLPDRA Georisk) will undertake research in the area of geotechnical risk analysis, probability and stochastic modelling.

    Further information and position descriptions can be found here.

  6. UWA node recruiting for Research Fellow / Research Associate

    The Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) at The University of Western Australia is the largest research group in the world focusing on offshore geotechnical engineering. The group has 30 academics, 25 administrative and technical staff, 44 PhD students and hosts world-class experimental facilities, including 2 geotechnical centrifuges.

    COFS is one of the three nodes of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE) and is offering a post-doctoral position in geotechnical engineering to work on an ARC Discovery Project in collaboration with The University of Newcastle. The project involves centrifuge, numerical and analytical modelling to investigate the behaviour of foundations in sand for offshore renewable energy structures under multidirectional cyclic loadings.

    The position description and selection criteria can be found here.


  7. PhD Scholarship Available at Newcastle Node

    A PhD Scholarship exists for the computational modelling, simulation and analysis of hydraulic fracturing in Australian coal seam geology. This multiphysics research program will develop a variational approach to fracture mechanics, as well as associated numerical solution algorithms, to simulate three-dimensional hydraulic fracture involving complex systems of cracks in porous geomaterials.

    See the flyer for more information.

  8. CGSE researchers recognised in UWA ECR Best Publication Awards

    Dr Wenhua Zhao and Dr Shiaohuey Chow have been recognised in the UWA Early Career Researcher Best Publication Awards. The awards are designed to acknowledge outstanding research accomplishments by Early Careers Researchers.

    Dr Wenhua Zhao was awarded a Best Publication Award for his paper ‘Predication of hydrodynamic performance of an FLNG system in side-by-side offloading operation’. Published in the Journal of Fluids and Structures, the paper presents a comprehensive study on the hydrodynamics of an FLNG system with a focus on the nonlinear coupling effects of vessels and connection systems based on the concept FLNG prototype recently designed for South China Sea. Dr Zhao’s paper can be accessed at doi 10.1016/j.jfluidstructs.2013.11.021.

    Dr Shiaohuey Chow received a special commendation for her paper ‘Soil strength estimation and pore pressure dissipation for free-fall piezocone in soft clay’, published in Géotechnique. Dr Chow’s paper proposes an improved interpretation of free-fall piezocones (FFP) to estimate the soil undrained shear strength and coefficient of consolidation, derived from the first centrifuge modelling of FFPs in soft clay. The full paper can be accessed at doi 10.1680/geot.14.P.107.

    For further information, please contact, +61 8 6488 3122, +61 6488 6930

  9. Embankment Prediction Symposium

    Call for Expressions of Interest by June 2015

    The CGSE invites practising engineers and academics to make and submit predictions of the performance of an embankment constructed using prefabricated vertical drains on soft clay and/or the load-displacement response of a shallow foundation loaded to failure on soft clay.

    Field observations and the time history of the embankment behaviour, as well as the various predictions of that behaviour will be presented and discussed in a special Prediction Symposium to be held in Newcastle, Australia, on 12 and 13 of September 2016.

    More information on the symposium is available here.

  10. Short Course on 2D/3D Slope Stability Analysis by Dr Murray Fredlund

    The ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering is pleased announce that the two-day short course on 2D/3D slope stability analysis by Dr Murray Fredlund will go ahead as planned on 16-17 February 2015 at The University of Newcastle.

    For full details and registration information, please refer to the flyer.

    The link directly to the online shop for enrollment is as follows:

    Enrol in Short Course